Being social media trolls has made conventional communication obsolete. Conventional dating? now that’s just water under the bridge. We troll social media with our fingers on the “Like” button but second guess clicking, skipping over thirst traps like land mines. Or maybe it is because we do not know what we are getting ourselves into or what consequences that DM might bring. Sometimes we do it anyway because hey, you only live once right? Unfortunately, in the age of YOLO, and because of our swipe right social media society, finding a partner has become harder than ever before. The illusion of having an infinite amount of options, blurred relationship lines, and the constant downplaying of the importance of intimacy, are just a few of the realities that have made navigating the dating scene a “Cold World,” (J. Cole voice).
We swipe left then hit the “undo” button to get a second look; assess, then swipe left again, because we can. We hold all the power and convenience of selection in our tiny little thumbs- 24/7, 365. As long as there is a signal or some good old pirated Wi-Fi, we can browse all the fish in the sea at our leisure, or so we like to think. We refresh our news feeds whenever we have a mental break, just to bother ourselves with what our “Man Crush” or “Woman Crush” is doing with their day. We proceed to Insta/Facebook stalk their page, (and their comments). Then hover over the “Like” button again, over thinking our next move as we remind ourselves of the “bro code,” the unwritten rules of dating because when we are not face-to-face, we have that privilege. The privilege of thinking twice. That is what social media has given us.
In no way, shape, or form do I think of myself as a relationship expert and I do not expect readers to subscribe to my dismal view of the dating scene but what I do know is that social media has taken over our ability to start and hold conversations. The plethora of dating websites and hook up apps have made us lazy, socially awkward, and entitled. Entitled to more options, quicker responses, unlimited access.
And although we like to believe we enjoy the constant communication the technology age has allowed us, what we love more is the ability to hide behind our keyboards. The ability to hide our nervousness, our shaky voices, our uncertainty. We have the luxury of letting our fingers do the talking when it comes to approaching a love (or lust) interest. We get to revise and edit our pick-up lines, consult our best friend’s before we send a break up text. When they respond, we sit there looking exactly like the straight face emoji, yet we type “Lol” just to fill the empty space; because empty space makes us uncomfortable. We go out to parties, or not, and collect followers. We follow those we admire from a distance like a private eye and get a taste of their personal life, a personal life that is carefully curated, cropped, and filtered. But we’re okay with that, because we want that back story, even if it is a story they have created- it is our conversation starter.
Basing our relationships on those we scroll past, we have become accustomed to using memes to express what we feel, we have allowed our social media profiles to be our dating resume, our mouth piece. Don’t get me wrong, social media is a beautiful tool that can connect those separated by coasts and continents, re connect old lovers, and long lost friends, allowing us to do a host of amazing things but dating in this swipe right society of ours has made us so lazy that it is exhausting. Can I just get my razor phone back? Or nah.